It’s not called the Micro Four Thirds standard because it takes up a lot of room, but Panasonic has been backing that interchangeable standard in a big way. Or, rather, a tiny way, because they’ve just announced an interchangeable lens camera tinier than most point and shoot models.
Teeny Little Camera
First, to give you an idea of the scale: 3.88 x 2.16 x 1.2 inches. Seriously. That’s the size. You have smartphones bigger than this thing. Just for an idea of scale, a standard playing card used in poker has dimensions of 2.5 × 3.5 inches, so you could probably pass off this camera as a deck of cards if you built a slightly oversized box, something we will quickly see online once these are released.
The main difference, though, is that this has a full on Micro Four Thirds sensor, meaning that the pictures and video this will take are better. Much better, in fact, with a 16 megapixel sensor that really takes up most of the camera body. Remember, kids, size does matter with these things; your smartphone may have double-digit megapixels, but it has to cram those into a much smaller space, meaning your photos will be noisier and generally crappier compared to the DMC-GM1. Also, there’s something to be said for the tiny size.
There are a few trade-offs for the size; you don’t get and can’t add a hot shoe, and you can’t shoot 24fps 1080p video, just 30fps. The touchscreen is just three inches. Similarly, a lot of the lenses you can attach to this camera are actually going to be bigger than the camera itself, which may lead to weight and stabilization issues. That said, it’s definitely an intriguing little camera and if you want an interchangeable lens camera that doesn’t take up a lot of space, it’s very nice for the price: $750, with a Lumix G Vario 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 lens as part of the kit.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.